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Friday, May 31, 2013

Monsanto and the Bio-Rape of India

Monsanto and the Bio-Rape of India
May 27, 2013 | Green Med Info | Sayer Ji

Earlier this year, Vandana Shiva generated quite a stir within the blogosphere after comparing GMOs to rape in a Twitter post:



Despite the outrage evoked by her tweet, the metaphor is quite fitting, especially when one considers the technical definition of the word rape:
Rape: the unlawful compelling of a person [replace 'person' with 'organism'] through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
Because many GMO crops are wind and insect pollinated, their pollen (and the transgenes they carry) easily evade containment and are capable of traveling great distances. For instance, if pollen from genetically modified corn reaches a receptive non-GMO corn plant, transgenes will be forcibly integrated (through sexual reproduction) into the germline of their offspring, rendering them and all their future offspring permanently GMO. This could therefore be defined as a form of 'bio-rape.'

The farmer whose non-GMO crop is contaminated with GMOs is also violated. First, his ability to make a living is compromised, as his formerly organic crop has now been rendered non-organic. Second, Monsanto can legally suit that farmer for 'patent' infringement for having his crop contaminated by their seeds, essentially accusing him of criminal activity for being a victim of their biopollution!
It is one thing for GMO crops to contaminate adjacent organic land within a country which has already weighed the risks and benefits and approved that GMO product, but another for a multinational corporation's seeds to illegally contaminate a country who has not yet approved their use due to biosafety concerns. The latter case describes the long and abusive history of Monsanto vis-à-vis the Indian people, beginning in 2001 with the discovery of a Monsanto-patented Bt gene within fields planted with conventional, non-GMO seeds in the western state of Gujarat. Monsanto, who discovered their gene in these fields, claimed that the Gujarat farmers were guilty of seed piracy, when in fact they were victims of either bio-pollution (i.e. contamination via cross pollination with GMO plants), or had been coerced into using illegal Monsanto Bt-containing seeds before they were officially approved.1

Widespread Illegal Use of Monsanto GM Cotton Across India.

A new report published on Down To Earth, Science and Environment Online, documents the spread of illegal Monsanto GM cotton across India.

According to the author of the May 22nd report, Latha Jishnu, Monsanto's Roundup Ready Flex seeds are being grown in at least three Indian states without biosafety clearance, repeating the Bt cotton saga that began in 2001, when reports surfaced in Gujarat of thousands of farmers starting the illegal cultivation of Bt cotton before regulators could approve its commercial use.

Jishnu stated

In 2013, history is repeating itself as herbicide-tolerant GM cotton known as Roundup Ready Flex  (RRF) spreads illegally in at least three states. Roundup Ready Flex, first reported to be in use in Gujarat last season, has since spread to Punjab and Maharashtra although the regulator, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, has not cleared the technology. This is being field-tested by Monsanto's Indian partner, the Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company better known as Mahyco.
Jishnu also voiced concern over the connection between the spread of GM seeds and the concerning number of farmer suicides that follow their failure to live up to promised yields and financial gains:
Farmers' organisations in Maharashtra, particularly those in Vidarbha, have become alarmed by the spread of the illegal Roundup Ready Flex. The region is notorious for the huge numbers of suicides by primarily cotton farmers in the past 15 years and farmers' lobbies have been blaming the use of GM technology or Bt cotton as it is known for the spate of suicides.
The report goes on to explain the implications of the discovery of the illegal GM cotton
In India, the spread of Roundup Ready GM cotton is matter of serious concern since GEAC [Genetic Engineering Approval Committee] had called for additional tests by Mahyco. Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), a farmers' advocacy group that is fighting to safeguard the sustainability of agriculture in drought-prone Vidarbha,  says herbicide-tolerant Bt cotton is being openly sold at Rs1,500/ per packet of RRF (450 gm) "which is highly objectionable because RRF is yet to receive approval".

GEAC sources say Mahyco has been asked to provide detailed data on the use of RRF and its impact on the environment and approval for its commercial release is some way off.
Is the Biotech Industry Guilty of Bio-Rape? 

Over the past 12 years, India has been the victim of the illegal release of Monsanto's GM products on numerous occasions. The forceful and illegal insertion of a transgenic crop into the biosphere of a region is an irreversible transgression, i.e. you cannot 'recall' a transgene like it were a defective car part. Not only are a country's and their people's sovereign laws violated, but insofar as these transgenes produce biopesticides known to have unintended adverse health effects to non-target organisms (including mammals), such as the recently reported Bt toxin leukemia link, the transfer is a violent act that will carry onward infinitely, rendering all plant progeny that now possess the 'biopollution' genetically modified as well.  Some of these genes may even carry over horizontally to the bodies of those who consume them, violating their own genetic integrity. Is this not a form of bio-rape? Especially when done surreptitiously, illegally, without informed consent, and for one motive only: profit of those who own the seed patent, seed manufacturing or distribution rights


References

About the Author

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation.

He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

'Pushed to the Edge,' Seattle's Low Wage Workers Join Sweeping Movement

Workers outside Arby's on S Michigan
chanting Fired Up! (Photo: @Molly_O/ Twitter)
'Pushed to the Edge,' Seattle's Low Wage Workers Join Sweeping Movement
May 31, 2013 | Common Dreams | Lauren McCauley

Striking worker: "We have been pushed to the edge, and now we are taking a stand, and I could not be more excited, or more hopeful."

In the seventh action in just eight weeks across the United States, fast food workers in Seattle are walking off the job Thursday joining a sweeping movement of low-wage workers who have been "pushed to the edge and are now taking a stand."

Repeating the calls made by striking workers in other cities, the Seattle workers are demanding a living wage of $15 per hour and the right to form a union without intimidation.

"The fast food strike wave represents organized labor’s most dramatic challenge to the massive, fast-growing and virtually union-free industry," writes the Nation's Josh Eidelson, adding that the fast food industry's notoriously low-wages and tenuous employment are "increasingly representative of the larger economy."
According to the Good Jobs Seattle campaign, the strike began at 10:30 PM PST Wednesday and by midday Thursday workers from dozens of fast food chains had joined the protest, with forced shutdowns at three stores: a Taco Bell and a Burger King on 15th Avenue, and a Subway on Broadway.

Following a series of morning rallies, strikers plan to converge at 4:30 PM local time for a march from Seattle's Denny Park to a number of fast food locations.

"My employer has pushed and pushed my coworkers and me and gotten everything they can out of us. This week, we joined together and pushed back," writes Caroline Durocher, one of the first to walk off her job at a local Taco Bell on Wednesday night, in an op-ed about why she was joining the action.
She continues:
We work in one of the fastest growing industries in the nation, and our companies are making huge – even record – profits, but we don't see enough of that money. We barely earn enough to pay for basics like rent, food and transportation to and from work.

[...]

That's not the life I envisioned for myself three years ago, when I was working full time, while studying for an associate of arts degree. I was planning to continue my education and become a psychologist. That was the plan, and that's still the plan. But my school costs became too much of a burden, and I had to leave, just a few credits shy of my degree.

And now I feel stuck in this trap – the trap of low-wage work. I work the night shift at Taco Bell in Ballard – running the register for the drive-through, ringing up one customer while taking the order of another. It's fast-paced, hard work, but at the minimum wage of $9.19 per hour and only 27 hours per week, I don't earn enough to make ends meet.

When I ask for more hours, my boss always says the same thing: hours are competitive – the harder you work, the more hours you'll get. But I work hard, and I haven't gotten any more hours.

I am stuck in a tough spot. I can't get enough hours to get health insurance, but I only qualify for $16 a month in food stamps, which I finally decided wasn't even worth the transportation costs to continue to get them. I can't get a better-paying job, especially without a degree, but I can't afford to go back to school.

[...]

So what do I have to lose? For me and my colleagues working fast –food jobs across Seattle, the answer is, 'Nothing.' Our backs are firmly against the wall. By joining with my coworkers, I can envision a future in which I earn enough to live, eat and go back to school.

We have been pushed to the edge, and now we are taking a stand, and I could not be more excited, or more hopeful.
The strike follows similar actions in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Detroit. 

Employees from restaurant chains including McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway, Arby’s, Chipotle and more are expected to participate in the demonstration.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Truth about The Social Contract

The Truth about The Social Contract
May 30, 2013 | StormCloudsGathering

The social contract is a concept that liberals and conservatives interpret very differently, but In this video we're probably going to make both sides angry.

Earth Conscience: Vitamin E

Earth Conscience: Vitamin E
May 30, 2013 | mercola



do it yourself solar power kits

Eugenics: Unapproved Monsanto crop found growing in Oregon

Eugenics: Unapproved Monsanto crop found growing in Oregon
May 30, 2013 | RTAmerica

A genetically modified strain of wheat that was never approved by the United States Department of Agriculture as been discovered growing in Oregon, triggering a federal probe that is now spanning several states. The GMO wheat was made by biotech company Monsanto and was tested in parts of the US until 2006, at which point Monsanto stopped pursuing the USDA's approval.

Walmart’s Shocking Threats And Employee Bullying Detailed In 27-Page Report

Walmart’s Shocking Threats And Employee Bullying Detailed In 27-Page Report
May 30, 2013 | Opposing Views | Stacie Borrello

Walmart continually asks Americans to consider what’s more important: justice for its workers or low prices for its customers?

This month, the nation’s largest retailer faces more accusations of illegally threatening and retaliating against employees with the release of a new report entitled: “Fighting For a Voice: Walmart Workers Speak Out Despite Systemic Labor Abuse.”

The 27-page report, released by the labor rights group American Rights at Work, describes the “fear-based” strategies Walmart uses to curb worker organizing, along with its ruthless targeting of employees who associate with the OUR Walmart employee rights group.

More than 150 allegations of workers’ rights violations are detailed in the report, many of which occurred around or after the Black Friday strikes of 2012 that brought national attention to the plight of Walmart workers. (Undeterred, OUR Walmart plans more strikes beginning this week. Striking for better working conditions is protected under labor law.)

While Walmart’s tactics are not new to the company, this report may be the first opportunity for some outsiders to get a near-comprehensive take on how the company tyrannizes its employees.

Some of the more shocking employee intimidation incidents described in the report include a form of sexual harassment and threats of violence:
  • A Walmart manager in Kentucky continually harassed employee James Vetato after hearing him talk about workers coming together to improve working conditions. This harassment included the manager making sexual comments regarding Vetato’s teenage daughter. The manager said he would stop harassing Vetato if he made his daughter have sex with the manager.
  • A California Walmart manager shouted threats at workers returning from a strike, saying he was going to “shoot” the activists.
  • A manager in another store ignored an OUR Walmart member who reported that other employees were threatening her with violence.
The report also documents a laundry list of other intimidation tactics and suspect firings directed at those involved in protected OUR Walmart organizing activities:
  • A Texas Walmart employee who was planning to participate in an upcoming strike was accused of stealing from the store, even though she had a receipt for her purchase. Another employee who witnessed this encounter felt intimidated and decided not to strike.
  • After participating in the Black Friday strike, Lisa Lopez, a Walmart employee in Florida, was repeatedly called to the manager’s office and cited for “transgressions” that included cutting her finger (Walmart called it “recklessness”) and, another time, for wearing earrings.
  • Cindy Lee was told by a Missouri Walmart manager to get some rest at home when she was sick. Then, the manager fired her for “walking off the job.”
  • Angela Williamson, an employee of a Florida Walmart, was terminated for being absent while she was hospitalized for a severe kidney infection.
  • OUR Walmart leader Gerardo Paladan was injured on the job at a Walmart in Washington State after management refused his requests to fix broken equipment. When managers still ignored him even after the accident, Paladan and 21 co-workers signed a petition asking the store to make employee safety a priority. In response, a manager told Paladan not to “mouth off” and threatened him with extra work and further discipline.
  • Associates in Missouri, Illinois, and California said managers tried to socially isolate OUR Walmart members by ordering other employees not to interact with them.
  • Employees have suffered reduction in working hours (cuts as drastic as 30 to 12 hours per week) after participating in OUR Walmart activities.
In addition to firing or threatening employees involved in organizing, the report states that Walmart has surveilled and questioned OUR Walmart members, even though it is unlawful to do so:
  • Employees of multiple California Walmarts reported that managers followed OUR Walmart organizers when they entered stores and kept track of which workers talked with them.
  • Also in California, employees reported that a manager stood by the time clock and recorded the names of everyone wearing OUR Walmart bracelets imprinted with the word “respect.”
  • Other incidents involve managers interrogating employees about their activities, using threatening language like “we have you on tape” and demanding to know which employees are OUR Walmart members.
The company has such a well-documented history of firing, surveilling, harassing and interrogating employees for organizing activities that the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel had described Walmart’s tactics as a “pattern of illegal conduct” likely encouraged by company headquarters. The NLRB filed nearly 100 complaints against the retail giant in just one five-year span from 1998 to 2003.

As if employee silencing wasn’t enough, Walmart is seeking to eliminate public protests as well. The company has filed lawsuits seeking to curb freedom of speech and assembly by having Walmart stores and surrounding property declared off-limits to critics.

Meanwhile, non-employees have a lot to be mad about, too, given that tax dollars fund the mega-corporation’s struggling employees:
  • Walmart’s poverty wages force employees to rely on $2.66 billion in government help every year, or about $420,000 per store.
  • Walmart’s employees also are top recipients of Medicaid.
  • As many as 80 percent of Walmart employees depend on food stamps.
  • Meanwhile the Walton family, heirs to Walmart, are collectively worth more than $100 billion, making them the wealthiest family in the world.
Do you think Walmart should increase employee wages and benefits – or should Walmart treat its employees however it chooses as long as it keeps prices low?

Follow the author: @LiberaLLamp on Twitter – On Facebook

Sources: American Rights at Work, Thom Hartmann

NASA identifies 28 new asteroid families

© WISE
Astronomers using data from NASA's
Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)
have identified 28 new families of asteroids
in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter.
NASA identifies 28 new asteroid families
May 30, 2013 | Press Trust India

Washington: Astronomers using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have identified 28 new families of asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter.

The findings are a critical step in understanding the origins of asteroid families, and the collisions thought to have created these rocky clans.

An asteroid family is formed when a collision breaks apart a large parent body into fragments of various sizes. Some collisions leave giant craters. For example, the asteroid Vesta's southern hemisphere was excavated by two large impacts.

Other smash-ups are catastrophic, shattering an object into numerous fragments. The cast-off pieces move together in packs, travelling on the same path around the Sun, but over time the pieces become more and more spread out.

"We're separating zebras from the gazelles," said Joseph Masiero of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and lead author of the study.

"Before, asteroid family members were harder to tell apart because they were travelling in nearby packs. But now we have a better idea of which asteroid belongs to which family," Masiero said in a statement.

The new families were found in millions of infrared snapshots from the asteroid-hunting portion of the WISE all-sky survey, called NEOWISE.

The NEOWISE team looked at about 120,000 main belt asteroids out of the approximately 600,000 known.

They found that about 38,000 of these objects, roughly one third of the observed population, could be assigned to 76 families, 28 of which are new. In addition, some asteroids thought to belong to a particular family were reclassified.

The main asteroid belt is a major source of near-Earth objects (NEOs), which are those asteroids and comets that come within 45 million kilometres of Earth's path around the Sun.

Some near-Earth objects start out in stable orbits in the main asteroid belt, until a collision or gravitational disturbance flings them inward like flippers in a game of pinball.

"NEOWISE has given us the data for a much more detailed look at the evolution of asteroids throughout the solar system," said Lindley Johnson, the programme executive for the Near-Earth Object Observation Programme at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

"This will help us trace [near-Earth asteroids] back to their sources and understand how some of them have migrated to orbits hazardous to the Earth," Johnson said.

The next step for the team is to learn more about the original parent bodies that spawned the families.

The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Pure Capitalism = Pure Fantasy | Interview Richard Wolff

Pure Capitalism = Pure Fantasy | Interview Richard Wolff
May 30, 2013 | breakingtheset


Abby Martin talks to Richard Wolff, Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, and author of 'Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism', about the recent school closures in Chicago, and how it reflects a systemic problem within the current capitalist model.

LIKE Breaking the Set @ http://fb.me/BreakingTheSet
FOLLOW Abby Martin @ http://twitter.com/AbbyMartin

Earth Karma: Are we at the Climax of Change?

Earth Karma: Are We at the Climax of Change?
May 30, 2013 | HawkkeyDavisChannel



One more week full of rare and record breaking events. Floods, tornadoes, rare blockbuster snowstorms, earthquakes and so much more has taking place the past week or so. Thanks for watching here!

*Music Used*
Empire Syndicate - Blood Pf A New World

Get More Earthquake Updates Here
http://www.youtube.com/user/dutchsinse

Not everything makes these videos at the end of the week, if your looking for more events, links or you just want to share join us all here. Thank you all for sharing!

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Watch More Of This Series From The Playlist
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I do not own any of these videos thanks to all the people who film these disasters and the news medias that report them.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This video may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes only. This constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Study: GM Salmon Will Make Mutant Babies With Wild Fish

Study: GM Salmon Will Make Mutant Babies With Wild Fish
May 29, 2013 | Activist Post

Super aggressive mutant animals dominating the wild is not science fiction anymore.

Canadian scientists have determined that if genetically modified salmon get into the wild, they will breed with wild fish and pass on their modified genes. The study also showed that the mutant offspring proved to be more aggressive than both the GM salmon and the wild fish.

The study published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society is the first of its kind to demonstrate environmental impacts of hybridization between a GM animal and a closely related species.

The study determined:

Through experimental crosses, we demonstrate transmission of a growth hormone transgene via hybridization between a candidate for commercial aquaculture production, GM Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and closely related wild brown trout (Salmo trutta).
What's most interesting about this study is that the GM hybrids outperformed the original GM salmon as well as the wild trout.

Transgenic hybrids were viable and grew more rapidly than transgenic salmon and other non-transgenic crosses in hatchery-like conditions. In stream mesocosms designed to more closely emulate natural conditions, transgenic hybrids appeared to express competitive dominance and suppressed the growth of transgenic and non-transgenic (wild-type) salmon by 82 and 54 per cent, respectively.
Dr Darek Moreau, from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, who conducted the study told the BBC : "[Under hatchery conditions] the transgenic hybrids grew faster than the wild salmon, wild trout and wild-type hybrids. The GM hybrids also outgrew the GM salmon."

The mutant hybrids turned out to be more aggressive feeders than the GM salmon and wild trout leading the researcher Dr. Moreau to determine the growth rate "was likely a result of competition for limited food resources."

Genetically modified salmon would be the first transgenic animal to be allowed for human consumption, which is in the final stages of FDA approval. But many fear exactly what this study shows, that the engineered gene will mutate into nature.

Yet, AquaBounty, who filed for FDA approval of GM salmon, says there is no way this could happen because their fish are not only engineered to grow abnormally fast but also to be sterile.

"AquaBounty has stipulated that we will market only sterile, all female AquAdvantage salmon," said  CEO Ron Stotish.

Didn't the genetic scientists in the fictional Jurassic Park movies use this same tactic?

The bigger concern for opponents of GM salmon is that once the door is opened for genetically modified livestock, more mutant species will land on the dinner plates without studies as to how they may affect human health.

If we are what we eat, what will eating sterile fish and crops from sterile "terminator" seeds do to human reproduction?

Read other articles by Activist Post Here

Walmart found guilty of dumping hazardous waste nationwide

"Junk shipped from China"
Reuters / Lucy Nicholson
Walmart found guilty of dumping hazardous waste nationwide
May 29, 2013 | RT

America’s largest retailer and employer has been fined over $100 million for violating environmental regulations by disposing of fertilizer, pesticide and bleach in sewage systems across the country, among other violations.

Walmart pleaded guilty to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act by disposing of hazardous chemicals in garbage receptacles and sewage systems at over 4,000 retail outlets across the United States in court cases filed by the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The US Justice Department said Walmart was also found guilty of violating federal law by mixing together pesticides at a Missouri recycling facility and then reselling them in a process that violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The state of California opened an investigation into the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company in 2005 when a San Diego County Health Department inspector witnessed a Walmart employee discarding bleach down a sewer drain.

In another instance, investigators said a boy was found playing in a mound of fertilizer near a Walmart garden section. The product contained ammonium sulfate, a chemical compound that causes irritation to people's skin, eyes and respiratory tract, USA Today reported.

“As one of the largest retailers in the United States, Walmart is responsible not only for the stock on its shelves but also for the significant amount of hazardous materials that result from damaged products returned by customers,” said Melinda Haag, US Attorney for the Northern District of California. “The crimes in these cases stem from Walmart’s failure to comply with the regulations designed to ensure the proper handling, storage, and disposal of those hazardous materials and waste.”

Court records show the illegal dumping happened in 16 California counties between 2003 and 2005. Federal prosecutors said Walmart failed to train its employees on how to handle and dispose of hazardous waste material at its outlets.

Walmart agreed to pay more than $110 million in penalties to end the decades-long investigation, the Department of Justice said.

Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, suggested the retail giant’s gross violation of environmental regulations may have helped its performance against the competition.

"By improperly handling hazardous waste, pesticides and other materials in violation of federal laws, Walmart put the public and the environment at risk and gained an unfair economic advantage over other companies," Moreno said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also weighed in on the court case.

“The FBI holds all companies, regardless of size, to the same standards,” FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the San Francisco Field Office said, in a statement released by the Department of Justice. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure there is a level playing field for all businesses and that everyone follows the rules.”

Walmart defended itself, saying it has cleaned up its environmental standards.

“Walmart has a comprehensive and industry-leading hazardous waste program,” Phyllis Harris, senior vice-president and chief compliance officer, said in a statement on Walmart’s webpage. “The program was built around training, policies and procedures on how to safely handle consumer products that become hazardous waste, and we continue to run the same program in every store and club that was deployed years ago.”

This month, Walmart surprised analysts by reporting a 1.4 per cent quarterly decline in sales across the United States.

According to the Walmart website, the retailer operates more than 10,800 retail units under 69 banners in 27 countries. It employs 2.2 million associates around the world — 1.4 million in the United States alone.
Robert Bridge is the author of the book, Midnight in the American Empire, which deals with the consequences of excessive corporate power in the United States.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Antarctica's Ecosystem Is 33 Million Years Old

The Antarctic drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution
was used in the Integrated Ocean Drilling
Program to dig deep into Antarctic sediments.
CREDIT: Courtesy of IODP
Antarctica's Ecosystem Is 33 Million Years Old
May 28, 2013 | Live Science | Stephanie Pappas

The modern ecosystem of icy Antarctica is some 33.6 million years old, new research finds, with a system dating back to the formation of the polar ice caps.

The date is revealed by fossilized remnants of plankton found in Antarctic sediments, which show how plankton diversity plummeted when a big chill came along at the end of the Eocene Epoch and the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. Before the transition, Earth was a toastier place, and a wide array of plankton survived even at the poles.

The study, published in the journal Science in April, focused on single-celled plankton called dinoflagellates, which contain materials that fossilize. Before the Eocene-Oligocene transition about 34 million years ago, Antarctic dinoflagellates were extremely diverse. When the ice pack formed, however, only plankton that could survive cold temperatures and a seasonal freeze-melt cycle remained.

Antarctica's ice pack is the floating sea ice that melts in the summer and freezes in the winter. At melt time, plankton in the Southern Ocean surrounding the continent get busy, chowing down on the nutrients freed up from the melting ice. The consequences are global, said study researcher Carlota Escutia of the Andalusian Institute of Earth Sciences in Spain.

"This phenomenon influences the dynamics of global primary productivity," Escutia said in a statement. Primary productivity is the basis of the food chain: Photosynthetic organisms such as plankton take sunlight and nutrients such as iron and nitrate and turn them into organic compounds. Larger organisms then eat the plankton and make use of those compounds to provide themselves with energy.

"The great change came when the [plankton] species simplified their form and found they were forced to adapt to the new climate conditions," Escutia said.

The icy ecosystem that formed after the Eocene is marked by high plankton numbers in the spring and summer, which sets off a short-lived feeding frenzy as plankton-eating species such as whales gorge themselves while they can.

"The explosion of dinoflagellates adapted to a temporary sea ice cover testifies to an in-depth reorganization of the food web in the Southern Ocean," study researcher Jörg Pross, a paleoclimatologist at Goethe University in Germany, said in a statement. "Our data suggest that this change may have promoted the evolution of modern baleen whales and penguins."

Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

Dead whale found pinned to cruise liner

Dead whale found pinned to cruise liner
May 17, 2013 | Signs of the Times

Monday, May 27, 2013

"Another Threat To Our Survival" Wrecking Nature for Short Term Profit

"Another Threat To Our Survival" Wrecking Nature for Short Term Profit
May 27, 2013 | Information Clearing House

Noam Chomsky talks about the willful and reckless destruction of the environment by the US and other Western nations. Corporate-run governments have abdicated their responsibility toward protecting the welfare of their citizens and are rushing the world toward climate catastrophe.

Recorded May 7 2013 in Denver, Colorado at an event organized by community radio station KGNU (http://kgnu.org).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

2 Million People In 52 Countries March Against Monsanto

2 Million People In 52 Countries March Against Monsanto
May 26, 2013 | Washington's Blog

Monsanto’s Arguments Debunked 

2 million people in 52 countries protested against Monsanto today. (Pictures here.)

In response to the protest, Monsanto’s spokesperson said:
Among the challenges facing agriculture are producing food for our growing population and reducing agriculture’s footprint on the environment. While we respect each individual’s right to express their point of view on these topics, we believe we are making a contribution to improving agriculture by helping farmers produce more from their land while conserving natural resources such as water and energy.
Is this true?

The Independent noted in 2008:
Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.

The study – carried out over the past three years at the University of Kansas in the US grain belt – has found that GM soya produces about 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent, contradicting assertions by advocates of the technology that it increases yields.

Professor Barney Gordon, of the university’s department of agronomy, said he started the research – reported in the journal Better Crops – because many farmers who had changed over to the GM crop had “noticed that yields are not as high as expected even under optimal conditions”. He added: “People were asking the question ‘how come I don’t get as high a yield as I used to?’”

***

The new study confirms earlier research at the University of Nebraska, which found that another Monsanto GM soya produced 6 per cent less than its closest conventional relative, and 11 per cent less than the best non-GM soya available.

***

A similar situation seems to have happened with GM cotton in the US, where the total US crop declined even as GM technology took over.

***

Last week the biggest study of its kind ever conducted – the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development – concluded that GM was not the answer to world hunger.

Professor Bob Watson, the director of the study and chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when asked if GM could solve world hunger, said: “The simple answer is no.”
Scientific American reported in 2009:
Proponents argue that GM crops  can help feed the world. And given ever increasing demands for food, animal feed, fiber and now even biofuels, the world needs all the help it can get.
Unfortunately, it looks like GM corn and soybeans won’t help, after all.
The Union of Concerned Scientists wrote the same year:
For years the biotechnology industry has trumpeted that it will feed the world, promising that its genetically engineered crops will produce higher yields.

***

That promise has proven to be empty …. [A UCS report] reviewed two dozen academic studies of corn and soybeans, the two primary genetically engineered food and feed crops grown in the United States. Based on those studies, the UCS report concludes that genetically engineering herbicide-tolerant soybeans and herbicide-tolerant corn has not increased yields. Insect-resistant corn, meanwhile, has improved yields only marginally. The increase in yields for both crops over the last 13 years, the report finds, was largely due to traditional breeding or improvements in agricultural practices.

***

The report does not discount the possibility of genetic engineering eventually contributing to increase crop yields. It does, however, suggest that it makes little sense to support genetic engineering at the expense of  technologies that have proven to substantially increase yields, especially in many developing countries. In addition, recent studies have shown that organic and similar farming methods that minimize the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers can more than double crop yields at little cost to poor farmers in such developing regions as Sub-Saharan Africa.

The report recommends that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state agricultural agencies, and universities increase research and development for proven approaches to boost crop yields. Those approaches should include modern conventional plant breeding methods, sustainable and organic farming, and other sophisticated farming practices that do not require farmers to pay significant upfront costs. The report also recommends that U.S. food aid organizations make these more promising and affordable alternatives available to farmers in developing countries.

“If we are going to make headway in combating hunger due to overpopulation and climate change, we will need to increase crop yields,” said Gurian-Sherman. “Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.”
Mother Jones pointed out in February:
Washington State University researcher Charles Benbrook has demonstrated that the net effect of GMOs in the United States has been an increase in use of toxic chemical inputs.

***

And in a new paper (PDF) funded by the US Department of Agriculture, University of Wisconsin researchers have essentially negated the “more food” argument as well. The researchers looked at data from UW test plots that compared crop yields from various varieties of hybrid corn, some genetically modified and some not, between 1990 and 2010. While some GM varieties delivered small yield gains, others did not. Several even showed lower yields than non-GM counterparts. With the exception of one commonly used trait—a Bt type designed to kill the European corn borer—the authors conclude, “we were surprised not to find strongly positive transgenic yield effects.” Both the glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup Ready) and the Bt trait for corn rootworm caused yields to drop.

Then there’s the question of so-called “stacked-trait” crops—that is, say, corn engineered to contain multiple added genes—for example, Monsanto’s “Smart Stax” product, which contains both herbicide-tolerant and pesticide-expressing genes. The authors detected what they call “gene interaction” in these crops—genes inserted into them interact with each other in ways that affect yield, often negatively. If multiple genes added to a variety didn’t interact, “the [yield] effect of stacked genes would be equal to the sum of the corresponding single gene effects,” the authors write. Instead, the stacked-trait crops were all over the map. “We found strong evidence of gene interactions among transgenic traits when they are stacked,” they write. Most of those effects were negative—i.e., yield was reduced.

Overall, the report uncovers evidence of what is known as “yield drag”—the idea that manipulating the genome of a plant variety causes unintended changes in the way it grows, causing it to be less productive.

***

Here’s how the authors of a major paper published in Nature  [one of the world's leading science jounrals] last year put it:
Soils managed with organic methods have shown better water-holding capacity and water infiltration rates and have produced higher yields than conventional systems under drought conditions and excessive rainfall.
Genetically engineered foods have also allegedly been linked to obesity, cancer, liver failure, infertility and all sorts of other diseases. Brief, must-watch videos here and here.

Postscript: This is a bipartisan movement. After all, polls show that a large majority of Americans want strong food safety rules, and want genetically modified foods to be labeled.

And yet Congress is – yet again – handing a big funder unlimited power.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

'Monsanto is all-in-one horseman of GMO Apocalypse'

'Monsanto is all-in-one horseman of GMO Apocalypse'
May 25, 2013 | RussiaToday


A wave of rallies is rolling across the globe in protest at biotech giant Monsanto. Thousands of campaigners and environmentalists in more than 40 countries accuse the multi-national corporation of aggressively expanding into the food market and spreading hazardous products.

Geopolitical analyst and author of "Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of GMO" F. William Engdahl explains why Monsanto menaces farmers and food producers around the globe.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Groups Slam Environmental Defense Fund for Fracking "Greenwash"

More than 70 environmental groups and
activists sent a letter to EDF President Fred
Krupp accusing him of "greenwashing" a
pro-fracking group. (Photo: fotdmike/ Flickr)
Groups Slam Environmental Defense Fund for Fracking "Greenwash"
May 24, 2013 | Common Dream | Lauren McCauley

Criticism follows news that EDF president has partnered with gas companies in pro-fracking coalition

Environmental groups and activists slammed the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) this week for partnering with a coalition of Big Energy companies and pro-fracking groups, saying there is "nothing sustainable about shale oil or shale gas."

 "Greenwashing" is what the groups called the move, following the disclosure that the Executive Director of EDF, Fred Krupp, had joined the board of directors of the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD).

"The very use of the word sustainable in the name is misleading, because there is nothing sustainable about shale oil or shale gas," they wrote in a letter addressed to Krupp (pdf) and signed by more than 70 environmental groups and activists including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Beyond Nuclear, numerous local anti-fracking organizations, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Gasland director Josh Fox.

Based in Pittsburgh, Penn., CSSD claims to provide a forum "for a diverse group of stakeholders" to discuss "innovative practices" and "share expertise" for shale oil and gas development. Other partners include the presidents of CONSOL Energy and Chevron Appalachia as well as the president of The Heinz Endowments, of which Secretary of State John Kerry's wife, Teresa, is chairman.

"[O]ur goals as a nation are not, and cannot, be the same as those of Chevron, CONSOL Energy, EQT Corporation, and Shell, all partners in CSSD," writes the group.

The letter continues:
These are fossil fuels, and their extraction and consumption will inevitably degrade our environment and contribute to climate change. Hydraulic fracturing, the method used to extract them, will permanently remove huge quantities of water from the hydrological cycle, pollute the air, contaminate drinking water, and release high levels of methane into the atmosphere. It should be eminently clear to everyone that an economy based on fossil fuels is unsustainable. [...]

These corporations are interested in extracting as much shale gas and oil as possible, and at a low cost. We are interested in minimizing the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels and in facilitating a rapid transition to the real sustainable energy sources—the sun, the wind, and hydropower.
The group cites the "glaring faults" of the CSSD's alleged "performance standards" for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and says the "whole notion of expanding oil and gas drilling" is problematic when one considers the destruction caused by the practice.

"It is doubtful that the tens of millions of Americans who live 'on the shale' would approve of open waste pits or the underground injection of undisclosed toxic chemicals in the vicinity of their water wells," they add.
"While EDF is free to partner with the gas industry in CSSD, we feel it is important that the press and the public clearly understand that neither EDF nor CSSD represents the environmental and public health communities on the subject of shale oil and gas extraction," the group concludes.

The Colorado River, The High Plains Aquifer And The Entire Western Half Of The U.S. Are Rapidly Drying Up

© ECB
The Colorado River, The High Plains Aquifer And The Entire Western Half Of The U.S. Are Rapidly Drying Up
May 24, 2013 | ECB | Michael Synder

What is life going to look like as our precious water resources become increasingly strained and the western half of the United States becomes bone dry?  Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century in the western half of the country in 1000 years, and now things appear to be reverting to their normal historical patterns.  But we have built teeming cities in the desert such as Phoenix and Las Vegas that support millions of people.  Cities all over the Southwest continue to grow even as the Colorado River, Lake Mead and the High Plains Aquifer system run dry.  So what are we going to do when there isn't enough water to irrigate our crops or run through our water systems?  Already we are seeing some ominous signs that Dust Bowl conditions are starting to return to the region.  In the past couple of years we have seen giant dust storms known as "haboobs" roll through Phoenix, and 6 of the 10 worst years for wildfires ever recorded in the United States have all come since the year 2000.  In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, "the average number of fires larger than 1,000 acres in a year has nearly quadrupled in Arizona and Idaho and has doubled in every other Western state" since the 1970s.  But scientists are warning that they expect the western United States to become much drier than it is now.  What will the western half of the country look like once that happens?

A recent National Geographic article contained the following chilling statement...
The wet 20th century, the wettest of the past millennium, the century when Americans built an incredible civilization in the desert, is over.
Much of the western half of the country has historically been a desolate wasteland.  We were very blessed to enjoy very wet conditions for most of the last century, but now that era appears to be over.

To compensate, we are putting a tremendous burden on our fresh water resources.  In particular, the Colorado River is becoming increasingly strained.  Without the Colorado River, many of our largest cities simply would not be able to function.  The following is from a recent Stratfor article...
The Colorado River provides water for irrigation of roughly 15 percent of the crops in the United States, including vegetables, fruits, cotton, alfalfa and hay. It also provides municipal water supplies for large cities, such as Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, accounting for more than half of the water supply in many of these areas.
In particular, water levels in Lake Mead (which supplies most of the water for Las Vegas) have fallen dramatically over the past decade or so.  The following is an excerpt from an article posted on Smithsonian.com...
And boaters still roar across Nevada and Arizona’s Lake Mead, 110 miles long and formed by the Hoover Dam. But at the lake’s edge they can see lines in the rock walls, distinct as bathtub rings, showing the water level far lower than it once was—some 130 feet lower, as it happens, since 2000. Water resource officials say some of the reservoirs fed by the river will never be full again.
Today, Lake Mead supplies approximately 85 percent of the water that Las Vegas uses, and since 1998 the water level in Lake Mead has dropped by about 5.6 trillion gallons.

So what happens if Lake Mead continues to dry up?

Well, the truth is that it would be a major disaster...
Way before people run out of drinking water, something else happens: When Lake Mead falls below 1,050 feet, the Hoover Dam's turbines shut down – less than four years from now, if the current trend holds – and in Vegas the lights start going out.

Ominously, these water woes are not confined to Las Vegas. Under contracts signed by President Obama in December 2011, Nevada gets only 23.37% of the electricity generated by the Hoover Dam. The other top recipients: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (28.53%); state of Arizona (18.95%); city of Los Angeles (15.42%); and Southern California Edison (5.54%).

You can always build more power plants, but you can't build more rivers, and the mighty Colorado carries the lifeblood of the Southwest. It services the water needs of an area the size of France, in which live 40 million people. In its natural state, the river poured 15.7 million acre-feet of water into the Gulf of California each year. Today, twelve years of drought have reduced the flow to about 12 million acre-feet, and human demand siphons off every bit of it; at its mouth, the riverbed is nothing but dust.

Nor is the decline in the water supply important only to the citizens of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. It's critical to the whole country. The Colorado is the sole source of water for southeastern California's Imperial Valley, which has been made into one of the most productive agricultural areas in the US despite receiving an average of three inches of rain per year.

You hardly ever hear about this on the news, but the reality is that this is a slow-motion train wreck happening right in front of our eyes.

Today, the once mighty Colorado River runs dry about 50 miles north of the sea.  The following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Jonathan Waterman about what he found when he went to investigate this...

Fifty miles from the sea, 1.5 miles south of the Mexican border, I saw a river evaporate into a scum of phosphates and discarded water bottles. This dirty water sent me home with feet so badly infected that I couldn’t walk for a week. And a delta once renowned for its wildlife and wetlands is now all but part of the surrounding and parched Sonoran Desert. According to Mexican scientists whom I met with, the river has not flowed to the sea since 1998. If the Endangered Species Act had any teeth in Mexico, we might have a chance to save the giant sea bass (totoaba), clams, the Sea of Cortez shrimp fishery that depends upon freshwater returns, and dozens of bird species.

So let this stand as an open invitation to the former Secretary of the Interior and all water buffalos who insist upon telling us that there is no scarcity of water here or in the Mexican Delta. Leave the sprinklered green lawns outside the Aspen conferences, come with me, and I’ll show you a Colorado River running dry from its headwaters to the sea. It is polluted and compromised by industry and agriculture. It is overallocated, drought stricken, and soon to suffer greatly from population growth. If other leaders in our administration continue the whitewash, the scarcity of knowledge and lack of conservation measures will cripple a western civilization built upon water.

Further east, the major problem is the drying up of our underground water resources.

In the state of Kansas today, many farmers that used to be able to pump plenty of water to irrigate their crops are discovering that the water underneath their land is now gone.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article in the New York Times...
Vast stretches of Texas farmland lying over the aquifer no longer support irrigation. In west-central Kansas, up to a fifth of the irrigated farmland along a 100-mile swath of the aquifer has already gone dry. In many other places, there no longer is enough water to supply farmers’ peak needs during Kansas’ scorching summers.

And when the groundwater runs out, it is gone for good. Refilling the aquifer would require hundreds, if not thousands, of years of rains.
So what is going to happen to "the breadbasket of the world" as this underground water continues to dry up?
Most Americans have never even heard of the Ogallala Aquifer, but it is one of our most important natural resources.  It is one of the largest sources of fresh water on the entire planet, and farmers use water from the Ogallala Aquifer to irrigate more than 15 million acres of crops each year.  It covers more than 100,000 square miles and it sits underneath the states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota.

Unfortunately, today it is being drained dry at a staggering rate.  The following are a few statistics about this from one of my previous articles...

1. The Ogallala Aquifer is being drained at a rate of approximately 800 gallons per minute.

2. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, "a volume equivalent to two-thirds of the water in Lake Erie" has been permanently drained from the Ogallala Aquifer since 1940.

3. Decades ago, the Ogallala Aquifer had an average depth of approximately 240 feet, but today the average depth is just 80 feet. In some areas of Texas, the water is gone completely.

So exactly what do we plan to do once the water is gone?

We won't be able to grow as many crops and we will not be able to support such large cities in the Southwest.

If we have a few more summers of severe drought that are anything like last summer, we are going to be staring a major emergency in the face very rapidly.

If you live in the western half of the country, you might want to start making plans for the future, because our politicians sure are not.

What Is Electricity?

Image Credit: William Biscorner, Memphis, Michigan
What Is Electricity?
May 22, 2013 | Thunderbolts.info | Stephen Smith

The Electric Universe hypothesis proposes that electricity lights the stars and forms the web of galaxy clusters in the Universe. But what is it?

First, “electricity” is a catchall term that describes several different phenomena: piezoelectric, thermoelectric, and even bioelectric activity are all forms of electricity. In a similar vein, “heat” has many faces: radiant heat, contact heat, convective heat, etc. One thing to keep clear, though, is that heat is a form of energy while electricity is not. However, continuing with the analogy, a flood of molten lava is not a flow of heat, nor is an electric current a river of electricity.

Defining what is meant by electricity often depends on who is providing the definition. Physicists and mathematicians define it in one way, while the “man on the street” defines it in another. Electricity is a fundamental quality of matter, so it is used to characterize other things, thus consensus opinion is lacking precision.

Like all bedrock presumptions such as “gravity” or “time”, reducing electric terminology into smaller units is impossible because it lies at the bottom of the lexical well. All we can do is draw water from the well, but we can’t make more water. So, electricity must be defined in comparison to other observations that appear to have a relationship with one another.

It may be dissatisfying to realize that we can go no further than that in our search. However, neither can we go deeper into ideas such as “length”. Length is the end of the line when units of physical measurement are considered. No matter how small or how large an object is, length remains as a principle that underlies all units, whether meters, or light-years. The question, “how many lengths of string does it take to reach the Moon?” is illustrative of the point. The unit measure of length must be considered. It depends on the unit value before the question can have meaning.

Scientists use the word “electricity” when they mean “the flow of electric charge”. Maxwell and other early investigators thought of it in that way, and that is how it is used today when electric current is discussed. That leads into significant inconsistency when the expression is used among other groups of people, though. For example, consider this definition from a website designed for high school students:

[Electricity] is a form of energy, evident from the fact that it runs machinery and can be transformed into other types of energy such as light and heat.

Electrical energy is a valid phenomenon, but it is not the same as electric charge. Electrical energy (otherwise called, “electromagnetism”) is measured in units called “joules”, while electric charge is measured in “coulombs”. Electricity, which we define as the flow of electric charge, travels through a circuit continuously when there is sufficient voltage to push it along through the wiring. It moves slowly.

Electromagnetic energy is different; it flows in only one direction at near the speed of light. Whereas electric charge is conserved in the circuit – it cannot be created or destroyed, only moved from place-to-place – electrical energy is converted into another form. It moves out from the source to the load and then away from the circuit as light or heat, never to return.

In a direct current (DC) circuit, electric charge hardly moves at all. In fact, electricity in DC circuits has been measured at speeds of only meters per hour. The electromagnetic energy in a circuit, on the other hand, travels like a wave through water, moving at speeds of millions of meters per second. Just as waves travel “through” water molecules in the ocean, electromagnetic energy travels “through” electric charge.

As previously mentioned, electric current is measured in coulombs per second (amperes) while electromagnetic energy is measured in joules. There is no way to convert one to another, they are unrelated – electric current is matter (charged particles) and electromagnetism is energy.

Electricity moves through a DC circuit in the wires as particles of charge. Electrical energy travels outside the wires as units of electromagnetism: it is a “field” rather than packets of material charge. In alternating current (AC) circuits, the movement of electricity is different, but the distinction between matter and energy remains. In AC circuits the electric charge does not flow. Instead, charged particles in the wires oscillate back and forth at 60 times per second in America, or 50 times per second in Europe. The energy flow is identical. However, it travels along outside of the wires at close to light speed.

So electric charge is not electrical energy. Electrons and protons are not carriers of electrical energy. Both are necessary in the Electric Universe, but each must be considered as unique phenomena.

Written by Stephen Smith from information provided by William Beatty.

Watch Free - Seeds of Death - Unveiling the Lies of GMO's

Seeds of Death - Unveiling the Lies of GMO's
May 24, 2013 | Gary Null

In preparation of the global March Against Monsanto, you are invited to watch our award-winning documentary Seeds of Death free.


http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/

The leaders of Big Agriculture--Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta--are determined that world's populations remain ignorant about the serious health and environmental risks of genetically modified crops and industrial agriculture. Deep layers of deception and corruption underlie both the science favoring GMOs and the corporations and governments supporting them.

This award-winning documentary, Seeds of Death, exposes the lies about GMOs and pulls back the curtains to witness our planet's future if Big Agriculture's new green revolution becomes our dominant food supply.

A Question and Answer fact sheet deconstructing Monsanto's GM claims and Big Agriculture's propaganda to accompany the film is available online:

http://prn.fm/2013/05/24/gary-null-an...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Reasons for the seasons - Rebecca Kaplan

Reasons for the seasons - Rebecca Kaplan
May 23, 2013 | TEDEducation

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/reasons-for...

Why do some regions experience full-time heat while others are reckoning with frigid temperatures and snow? And why are the seasons reversed in the two hemispheres? Rebecca Kaplan explains how the shape of the Earth's orbit around the Sun and the Earth's tilt on its axis affect the amount of sunlight each region receives.

Lesson by Rebecca Kaplan, animation by Marc Christoforidis.

Indigenous delegates to Shell shareholders: Extreme energy development is risk for investment and the planet

Indigenous delegates to Shell shareholders: Extreme energy development is risk for investment and the planet
May 21, 2013 | Global Justice Ecology Project

The Hague, Netherlands - Today members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and the Native Village of Point Hope, Alaska attended the Royal Dutch Shell AGM to confront the Chairman and Board over Shell’s decision to pursue highly risky ‘extreme energy’ projects without adequate consultation and accommodation of Indigenous communities. Projects such as Arctic off-shore drilling and tar sands will have little long term benefit for the company, and expose it to reputational damage, political and financial risk, including litigation.

“The ACFN leadership has made a commitment to protect our lands, rights and people currently being threatened by tar sands development. Our leadership has repeatedly tried exploring amenable agreements and options with Shell regarding their current tar sands proposals for the Jackpine expansion and the Pierre River mine projects. We want to work directly with the company to adequately identify direct impacts and solutions. However, Shell has repeatedly denied our requests and we have been disappointed by their inability to make concessions to work with us,” stated Eriel Deranger, member and Communications Coordinator of the ACFN. “Today I brought forward our concerns to Shell’s Board about current and proposed tar sands projects and the lack of adequate consultation.[i] I sincerely hope the Board keeps its word to speak with their Canadian president to address our concerns and potentially adjust the environmental impact assessment process. If Shell continues to move forward in project development without working directly with our community it will continue to lead toward more delays in project approvals, litigation and severe financial risk for Shell,[ii]” continued Deranger.

Shell Oil Canada has put forward two new proposals in the Athabasca tar sands. The Jackpine mine expansion application recently completed the public review process and is awaiting approval May 31, 2013. The Pierre River mine will be entering its public review process later this year and the ACFN will continue to intervene to ensure the protection of their lands, rights and vital waterways.

“Shell has been unaccountable and unresponsive for recent spills in our community, which our community members have been monitoring and testing. We live surrounded by 63 petro-chemical operators in 50 km radius. Our health, culture and rights are severely impacted already and we do not support tar sands refining or pipelines in our community. We have our future generations to protect,” said Vanessa Grey, community member of Aamwjiwnaang First Nation (AFN).

AFN is the proposed start for the highly contested tar sands Line 9 pipeline reversal and home to a Shell tar sands refinery. The pipelines such as Keystone XL, Enbridge Northern Gateway and Line 9 are facing massive public opposition, and look unlikely to be built soon. The price of tar sands crude has dropped as a result.

Mae Hank, representative of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL),  attended the AGM to to bring forward concerns regarding Shell’s Arctic offshore activities.[iii] Litigation, along with several other incidents has helped slow the rush to drill in the Arctic but the Tribal communities remained concerned Shell has not heeded these warnings.[iv]“Shell has stated that despite their current ‘pause’ in their Arctic offshore Alaska activities, the company is committed to drill there again in the future,” she said. “As an Inupiat Mother and Grandmother, I strongly oppose this plan, as do a majority of Inupiat. There is still no viable spill plan in place not only for cleaning up spills but how the company will compensate our community for the loss of food and food security.[v] I asked the Chairman and the Board to explain how they would compensate our community’s food security and needs when the next major oil spill disaster happens. The Chairman and the board simply danced around the question and did nothing to quell my concerns.”

Despite being plagued with substantial problems throughout and after the drilling season, Shell plans to continue its efforts for exploratory drilling in 2014 in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The company has spent $4.5bn securing permits to drill in Arctic waters, however they have been proven incapable of operating in the area. Shell’s experiences should be a cautionary tale as decisions are made about whether to authorize these activities in the future.

Source: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Global warming debunked: NASA report verifies carbon dioxide actually cools atmosphere

© Natural News
Global warming debunked: NASA report verifies carbon dioxide actually cools atmosphere
May 22, 2013 | Natural News | Ethan A. Huff

Practically everything you have been told by the mainstream scientific community and the media about the alleged detriments of greenhouse gases, and particularly carbon dioxide, appears to be false, according to new data compiled by NASA's Langley Research Center. As it turns out, all those atmospheric greenhouse gases that Al Gore and all the other global warming hoaxers have long claimed are overheating and destroying our planet are actually cooling it, based on the latest evidence.

As reported by Principia Scientific International (PSI), Martin Mlynczak and his colleagues over at NASA tracked infrared emissions from the earth's upper atmosphere during and following a recent solar storm that took place between March 8-10. What they found was that the vast majority of energy released from the sun during this immense coronal mass ejection (CME) was reflected back up into space rather than deposited into earth's lower atmosphere.

The result was an overall cooling effect that completely contradicts claims made by NASA's own climatology division that greenhouse gases are a cause of global warming. As illustrated by data collected using Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER), both carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), which are abundant in the earth's upper atmosphere, greenhouse gases reflect heating energy rather than absorb it.

"Carbon dioxide and nitric oxide are natural thermostats," says James Russell from Hampton University, who was one of the lead investigators for the groundbreaking SABER study. "When the upper atmosphere (or 'thermosphere') heats up, these molecules try as hard as they can to shed that heat back into space."

Almost all 'heating' radiation generated by sun is blocked from entering lower atmosphere by CO2 

According to the data, up to 95 percent of solar radiation is literally bounced back into space by both CO2 and NO in the upper atmosphere. Without these necessary elements, in other words, the earth would be capable of absorbing potentially devastating amounts of solar energy that would truly melt the polar ice caps and destroy the planet.

"The shock revelation starkly contradicts the core proposition of the so-called greenhouse gas theory which claims that more CO2 means more warming for our planet," write H. Schreuder and J. O'Sullivan for PSI. "[T]his compelling new NASA data disproves that notion and is a huge embarrassment for NASA's chief climatologist, Dr. James Hansen and his team over at NASA's GISS."

Dr. Hansen, of course, is an outspoken global warming activist who helped spark man-made climate change hysteria in the U.S. back in 1988. Just after the release of the new SABER study, however, Dr. Hansen conveniently retired from his career as a climatologist at NASA, and reportedly now plans to spend his time "on science," and on "drawing attention to [its] implications for young people."

You can read more details of the new NASA SABER study by visiting:
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/22mar_saber/

You can also check out a informative, four-minute video report on the solar storm here:
http://youtu.be/EEFQHDSYP1I

Sources for this article include:

http://principia-scientific.org

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/22mar_saber/

http://youtu.be/EEFQHDSYP1I